African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
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Built in 1894, this small Gothic Revival church is the oldest house of worship in Redding. It was originally home to the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, known as "AME Zion." However, it has since housed other denominations, and it is currently home to the Light House Church & Ministry. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination began in New York City in 1821 when a group of African-Americans walked out of a Methodist church service due to discrimination, and they subsequently founded their own church.
Backstory and Context
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In 1894, an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church was founded in Redding in a small Gothic Revival style building. Historically, this was an African-American Christian church and denomination. The denomination is also called "AME Zion" (or as simply "AMEZ") for short. AME Zion was officially established in New York City in 1821, although its roots can be traced back even earlier. The AME Zion is particularly significant because it was the first among several Black churches which established themselves in the early 1800s.
The history of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church began in 1796. A group of African-Americans walked out of a worship service at the John Street Methodist Church in New York City because they were facing intense discrimination, in addition to a long history of injustice and oppression due to slavery. They decided to instead found their own church, which they built in a Harlem neighborhood in New York City in 1800. They called this first church the "African Chapel," and later the "Zion Chapel". In 1848, this became officially known as the "Mother African Episcopal Methodist Zion Church."
AME Zion grew so rapidly after the Civil War, especially with the abolition of slavery, that the denomination spread to the West Coast of the U.S. with the founding of the First AME Zion Church in San Francisco in 1852. AME Zion also spread throughout the world, beginning with establishing a strong presence in Africa. It eventually established a presence on every continent on the globe except Australia.
The small Gothic Revival church building that was the original home of the AME Zion congregation in Redding, California, was remodeled in 1921. In 1946, the radio evangelist, Aimee Semple McPherson (1890 - 1944) acquired the building and founded a new denomination, the International Church of the Four Square Gospel. In 1993, the church was then purchased by a local entrepreneur named Terry Miller. Since 1993, the building has continuously been rented out as a church building. Today, it is home to The Light House Church & Ministry. A new fundraiser is currently underway to restore the building and to preserve it as a historical landmark. It is located within a historic neighborhood in downtown Redding.
"African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Redding, CA (1894)", The Pacific Coast Architecture Database. Accessed March 14th 2020. http://pcad.lib.washington.edu/building/16828/.
"African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church", Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed March 14th 2020. https://www.britannica.com/topic/African-Methodist-Episcopal-Zion-Church.
"African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church", Accessed March 14th 2020. https://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/african-methodist-episcopal-zion-church.
"AME Zion Church", AMEZ. Accessed March 14th 2020. https://amez.org/our-church/.
Madierios, Matthew & Amy. "Light House Building and Ministry Fund", GoFundMe. Accessed March 14th 2020. https://www.gofundme.com/f/light-house-building-and-ministry-fund.
Matthew Maderios and Amy Donaldson Maderios